The Drake Chronicles series are marketed as standard YA paranormal romances, but I think that is underselling them a little. Sure, there has been a hint of romance in both of the instalments I’ve read so far, but the focus is so much more on the conflicts between the various vampire groups. This is particularly so in Blood Feud, where the romance between Isabeau and Logan takes a back seat to the negotiations between the Drakes and the Hounds and the ongoing struggles with Montmartre and the Hel-Blar. There’s probably enough tension here to keep paranormal romance fans happy, but there’s also enough action and world-building to interest those who prefer their paranormal without the side of UST and love.
Blood Feud is interesting in that it doesn’t continue the stories of Solange and Lucy, who were the joint first-person protagonists of the first Drake novel, My Love Lies Bleeding. At first, I wasn’t pleased to realise this. I loved Lucy’s strong and feisty voice, and it was sad to find her so little used in this second book. I soon got over my disappointment, however, because Isabeau is just as enjoyable a character. We also get to see things through the eyes of one of the male Drakes for the first time, and Logan does an excellent job of combining loyal, chivalrous and deadly in a manner that’s sure to win him a lot of fans.
Blood Feud also adds a new element to the series, in that it incorporates numerous flashbacks to Isabeau’s life before she was turned. Interestingly, these are told using a third person perspective, which should really clash with the use of the first person for Isabeau’s present-day chapters but somehow doesn’t. I’m not usually a fan of historical fiction, but the sections of the novel detailing Isabeau’s life during the French Revolution held my attention well and definitely increased my appreciation of her as a character.
The action and world development here is great, although the final climax seemed a little rushed and a lot too easy. It’s not a particularly long novel in modern terms, so an extra ten or twenty pages dealing with the final battle could easily have been incorporated. That said, it was very refreshing to finish a book in a series and feel as though it had been properly ended, rather than just cut off mid-scene!
I was pleasantly surprised by the first Drake Chronicles book and Blood Feud has confirmed my initial feelings about the series, producing a strong second instalment that has ensured that I will be reading more from Alyxandra Harvey